They didn’t run into any problems while exploring .
As Ritz said earlier, the only monsters they encountered were goblins, and they were quickly taken care by him and his party .
The goblins’ corpses were laying strewn along the ground, with one ear missing .
Loren was worried that they would become undead, but there was no way for them to bury them inside the ruins, and if they were to burn them, the smoke would fill up the corridor .
They had no choice but to leave them as is .
“Even if they do become undead, they’re only goblins so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal . ”
Although Ritz answered Loren’s worries, Loren did not want to meet ghosts or undead goblins .
Putting that aside, thanks to all the goblins that showed up, the sack on Loren’s waist was now full .
It wasn’t much at first, but as the number of ears increased, the goblins’ blood started seeping into the sack, and started giving off an awful stench .
As much as Loren wanted to throw it away, he couldn’t, because it was given to him by Ritz and his party .
He couldn’t handle it roughly either, because it could be traded in for money .
Loren wondered if no one else was bothered by the smell, so he looked around, but no one seemed bothered by it except for Lapis .
She was grimacing, and because she was trying not to breathe through her nose, Loren could hear her heavy breathing .
“It’s not like I’m getting aroused or anything . ”
“I know . You don’t have to tell me . ”
Even if she didn’t say it, there was no way Lapis could be in the mood, anyway .
Nim, who was watching the two of them with a smile, suddenly became serious and let out a warning so everyone could hear .
“Wait . Something’s wrong . ”
Ritz and his party responded instantly .
Ritz, the warrior, raised his s.h.i.+eld, and Jack, the thief, scanned their surroundings .
Quartz, the magician, raised his staff and looked around .
“Nim, what is it?”
“The smell of the air changed . I smell blood other than goblin’s blood in the air . ”
At Nim’s words, Loren sniffed but the only thing he could smell was the goblin’s blood coming from the sack, and couldn’t smell what Nim was talking about .
Loren was surprised that Nim was able to detect a different smell, despite being right next to him with goblin stench covering up all the other smells in the area .
“Blood smells like iron, but is there really a difference between the smell of human blood and goblin blood?”
Lapis asked Loren with an unamused voice, but there was no way that Loren knew the answer to that .
“I won’t tell you guys to stop talking, but from here on out we should be careful . When it comes to sight and hearing, Nim’s is the sharpest . ”
“Her figure is sharp too…Oww!?”
Jack, who said one thing too many, received a kick on the back from Nim .
Although Jack had the larger body and looked stronger than Nim, she must have put in quite a bit of strength into that kick, as Jack fell face first onto the ground .
“Stop messing around…I just said we need to be careful . ”
“Come on, it’s getting too serious here . If we don’t relax it’s not good for our mentalities . ”
Jack laughed and rubbed his back as he stood up, looking around the area, while Ritz just looked at him, exasperated .
“From what I can see, there’s nothing like what Nim said around here . Which means it’s a bit ahead from here . ”
“Whatever . Let’s go . ”
Ritz, who decided that it was a waste of time trying to deal with Jack, gave the order, frustrated that he wasn’t apologetic at all,
Although they would slow down, everyone agreed that it was better than becoming like what Nim sensed, or fighting with whatever caused it without preparation .
“The young lady can’t move yet?”
While moving slowly through the corridor, Ritz asked Loren .
Loren looked behind at Lapis, who tried raising her arms up and down, and shook her head .
“I’m sorry, it’s going to take a bit more time . ”
“I thought you weren’t able to stand? Your arms should be fine . ”
“I know this is embarra . s . sing, but my whole body seems to have frozen from all the fear and tension…”
Ritz let out a bored expression at Lapis’ excuses, but then said to Loren .
“I don’t know where you found her, but wouldn’t it be better for both of you if you took her back to her church?”
“That’s something for her to decide . I can’t really say anything about it . ”
Loren thought that they weren’t close enough for him to say anything about what she should do, but didn’t feel like explaining that to Ritz .
He knew that he didn’t have a way with words, and there was a chance that he would say something that he didn’t need to .
Loren didn’t have any thoughts about Lapis’ true colors, but most people didn’t think the same way he did, and he wasn’t sure how Ritz and the others would react if they found out .
So Loren decided that there was a need for them to keep it a secret, and if he was going to do that, he shouldn’t talk much .
“Hey, look at that . ”
While Loren was thinking such thoughts, Jack, who was looking around, raised his voice .
Loren stopped thinking and looked toward the direction Jack was pointing, and what caught his eyes was something on the ground a distance ahead of them .
Loren wasn’t sure what it was at first .
It was a distance where he could just make out that there was something on the ground, but maybe because her job was a hunter, or maybe because it was because she was and elf, Nim was able to make out what it was, and muttered under her breath, trying to keep something in .
“Armor…b . l . o . o . d . y . ”
Even after finding out what it was, Ritz and the party didn’t cease to be cautious .
As much as they wanted to rush in and examine it, they were careful to look for traps or whatever left the b . l . o . o . d . y armor on the ground, and after taking a good amount of time to make sure there were no dangers, they walked closer to the thing lying on the ground .
“It’s armor all right . Leather armor . But this doesn’t tell us anything . ”
Ritz went close and leaned over to look at it more closely, but soon gave up trying to gain any sort of information .
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As Nime said, it was leather armor covered in blood, but it in such a shape that they could barely recognize that it used to be armor, and there was nothing that let them know who’s it was .
“From what I saw, the only monsters that came out in these ruins are goblins . ”
“What about that?”
“Goblins don’t usually kill women . It’s because they can use them for other things . But if the wearer of this armor was a woman, it means she was killed . That’s what’s strange . ”
Loren looked again at the remains of the armor on the ground .
In its current state, it was hard to tell if it was armor made for a woman .
But if it was like Nim said and the wearer was a woman, it was weird that she was killed on the spot, as Lapis just said .
“It’s not like something hit her and killed her?”
“It’s not impossible . But there’s too much blood . ”
Loren agreed with Nim .
Even if something like an arrow had killed her, it was hard to think that goblins’ weapons could make a wound that caused so much bleeding .
“There’s too much blood . It’s likely that she was taken apart on the spot . ”
“That would be unusual for goblins . If their prey was alive, they would prioritize their entertainment and take it to their nest . ”
“Then I guess there might be something other than goblins here . ”
“That’s what it comes down to . ”
After being silent for a moment to collect her thoughts, Nim asked Loren .
“The crack where we met you two . Do you remember the way back?”
“Yeah . It was mostly a straight tunnel, anyway . ”
“Okay . Ritz . ”
Ritz stopped thinking and turned toward Nim .
After waiting for him to completely turn his attention to them, Nim suggested to Ritz .
“Something’s weird . We should go out and restart . ”
“Wait a second . I feel that something’s wrong as well, but we don’t know for sure if these remains are from the other party . We need a clear reason to retreat . ”
“It won’t look well if we say we came back because we found b . l . o . o . d . y armor . It’s a different story if we found their identification tags, though . ”
Nim scanned the area with her eyes, but there was nothing of the sort laying on the ground .
“We can be extra cautious, but retreating is out of the question . It’ll effect our jobs in the future . ”
“It’s okay if that’s what Ritz decides, but…”
“I know . We’ll head back if we find things like tags . ”
“Then it’s fine . ”
Nim stopped being persistent as Ritz presented the conditions for retreat .
Loren, who had no choice but to follow Ritz regardless of whether he agreed with his decision, stayed silent and nodded .
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